Council members adopt a climate change amendment

In keeping with its ongoing efforts to to go green and plan for rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns, the Pinecrest Village Council voted unanimously to adopt a climate change element into its comprehensive development master plan last week.

The climate change element, in the works for months, includes data on rising sea levels in South Florida and where they are expected to impact flooding in the village as well as recommendations for action.

The climate change CDMP amendment approved Dec. 9 cites data presented in a Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact Counties report from 2012 — which projects sea levels rising between 9 and 24 inches in the next 45 years. The report concludes that while Pinecrest should remain dry during normal conditions, it should expect markedly worse flooding in certain low-lying areas of the village during major storms.

Expected impacted areas include areas west of Southwest 67th Avenue and south of Southwest 104th Street, Southwest 88th Street, Southwest 57th Avenue, Pine Needle Lane, Pinecrest by the Sea, and areas east and west of Southwest 72nd Avenue between Southwest 94th Street and Southwest 104th Street.

The updated CDMP suggests higher base floor elevations on new constructions in those areas as well as the construction of additional storm water infrastructure according to storm water master plan recommendations and new backflow preventers on drainage systems discharging into Biscayne Bay and canals.

It also suggests designating certain Adaptation Action Areas, which would make the village eligible to apply for certain state funds earmarked for flood-mitigating infrastructure and updates.

“These measures, along with other environmental initiatives approved by the Village Council, will help to protect the Village’s natural environment and help to make our community more resilient and less susceptible to the risks and impacts of global climate change,” Stephen Olmsted, village planning director, said in an email.

The updated CDMP will now go to the state Land Planning Agency for comments before returning to council for final approval. And even if given final approval, recommendations made in the new CDMP — whether code changes or infrastructure updates — will themselves have to be individually approved by the council in the form of resolutions or ordinances.

In other business, a divided council also passed on first reading an ordinance that regulates how people can solicit funds and distribute written materials at special events. The new regulation passed 3-2, with Mayor Cindy Lerner and council member James McDonald voting against.

Once the ordinance gets a second and final yes vote, solicitors will be required to stick to a designated table or booth when they give away pamphlets or receive money, although they’ll remain free to walk around and talk to event visitors about their cause or product.

Lerner angrily argued that the proposed regulation was “unfriendly” and “anti-community” and that there was no need for it. Village Manager Yocelyn Galiano Gomez said staff had put the item on the agenda following several complaints during the recent election cycle.

The council also voted to amend last month’s approval for a Steven Sotloff memorial at Pinecrest Gardens to delay its installment until the village had raised $10,000 to go toward garden enhancements — technically the threshold for plaques in the Gardens according to a 2012 council resolution.

The council also:

▪ Informally backed exploring the possibility of allowing golf-carts on certain low-traffic village streets with staff and residents.

▪ Unanimously voted to endorse the Linear Park proposal for the Ludlam Trail.